Does Your Website Make Sense?

By Yaro Starak
18 Comments

The more I use the Internet the more amazed (and frustrated) I am at how so many people are putting online websites that are built to make it difficult for viewers to actually do what the website is designed to do.

Here’s a quick checklist for anyone working online, especially those in Internet business who want their websites to sell – try and avoid these issues.

  1. State what the website is aiming to achieve in the space “above the fold”. Above the fold is the area that a person sees without scrolling down. In this space it should be obvious why your website exists. Is it to educate? To sell? To have someone enter a sales funnel? What is the niche you are targeting? All this should be clear in one very quick glance. You can’t solve someone’s problem if they can’t even figure out what it is you do.
  2. Use large fonts with lots of white space. This is a no brainer. You want your website to be read by as many people as possible so don’t use tiny fonts, don’t use clever fonts, just keep it simple, double spaced and big. You wouldn’t whisper your sales pitch to a potential customer in real life, so don’t do it online.
  3. Don’t get fancy. Graphics are secondary to text. The words on the page are primary. Graphics should only be used to enhance the presentation of text and never hinder or distract the visitor from what they are supposed to do at your website – read it!
  4. Use headings and bolds and lists, etc. This is something that must be drummed in over and over again – break up long towers of words into nice manageable blocks with headings and highlights. Combine this with the aforementioned large font and your website will be an efficient read and effective at getting your message across to as many people as possible. You want as many people as possible reading your website right?
  5. If you are limited in skills and resources, just use one nice text-based page. You can have tremendous success online by using a webpage that is just a simple letter format. Follow the rules above and tell your story using just words. If you can’t do website design yourself or can’t afford it, you can keep things simple and still have a very effective message. It won’t be pretty, but like I said, pretty doesn’t sell – the words do.

Yaro Starak
Simpleton

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18 Comments

  • There is something to be said about the KISS method. (Keep It Simple Stupid). It amazes me some of these one page sites that sell a information product of some sort. They always scroll on forever and it is full of useless information. Those are really great simple tips that I wish every site would follow.
    -Craig

  • I guess it all depends if you deal with the right people. Unfortunately, web development business is still not structured or standardized. There is no branding as there is in different industries.

    In regards to it is even worse. Google and Yahoo should provide exact step by step guidelines to webmasters for search engine optimization.

  • Simple in statement.

    Yet complex in execution.

    Getting design right is a never ending job for me, probably because I am not a professional designer.

    I think a lot of sites have small fonts because they are trying to match adsense and I always have to increase the font size to read the text.

    my new blog at lyndonantcliff.com/marketing has thrown off the shackles of adsense and is aimed more at the affiliate market.

    It’s quite refreashing.

    Good post Yaro, the basics need repeating as we forget them whilst doing other less important stuff.

  • […] Internet Wealth Master has only been live for a couple of weeks now, and I think I should be asking Does My Website Make Sense? Thanks for the tips Yaro – Do you think I should make the text larger? […]

  • These are some great basics that need reviewed every once in a while.

    So many people get caught up in rich media, flash, Ajax, and other potential usability killers without ever analyzing whether they are the best choice for their specific situation. Do most businesses benefit for swirling, dynamic, rich flash headers and logos. Probably not.

  • Thank you for spelling it out! It’s always about quality, not quantity. I try to achieve the same in my work all the time. Just because a page jumps out at you because it’s loaded with graphics or it’s got Flash movies doesn’t mean it’s good, or that it’s properly indexed in the search engines, or that most visitors will like it and be able to use it efficiently. Each site needs to be built for a specific purpose, and finely honed for it as well, otherwise it ends up being a foggy mess.

  • I agree with all the statements with the exception to this one:

    “pretty doesn’t sell – the words do. ”

    Wrong! If that were the case then beer commercials would never have young attractive good looking people and the same goes for any beauty products, etc. They would just write words on the television and the same for magazine ads.

    In a blog? sure. It’s the words that sell because a blog is intended to be a dump of text and information. People expect it when they see it. But moreso, rather than the pictures or the text, what sells is the idea and image that is created through a variety of different presentation methods.

    Long running text on a traditional website (non-blog is very ineffective. Take a look at http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html

    Generally, people don’t read online. It’s time consuming and text on a monitor is not easy on the eyes. We scan text and if a picture is worth a thousand words…

    It all depends on your target audience. For a blog it’s much different than a traditional corporate website much like it’s different for a punk rock band site. There are no hard and fast rules but statements such as that hold no merit without understanding your target audience.

  • Rules no 1 is the most important I guess. It helps to let readers understand your blog in a glance. And it helps to keep you focused in your writing.

    Hopefully, as your website developes it will not all turn to advertising spaces. :P

  • Hi,

    Run a small online business (bungalowlights.com)a small retailer of lighting fixtures. Since starting my sales have slowly going up, but it is not steady. How long before an online store like this one can start turning a profit?

    Regards
    Doming

  • Hi Doming – that’s a tough question to answer, it’s like the old “how long is a piece of string” question.

    Look for cashflow at first and watch your margins. Keep testing new things and eventually you will find the right mix.

  • When looking for info on the net people tend to be lazy and if pictures help you to be concise then use them. I personally like what Corby Simpson did on his website.

    Creating a Flash video to provide all the info about its services. That’s what most people would like. It gives you what you’re looking for and entertain you at the same time. You see it right in front of your eyes and don’t need to click so many times…

    Again, you need to know your target audience.

  • Yup but one fact is there 90 percent of the top sites use white space a lot without it the blog designs doesn’t look good and headings should be bold and works great when its eye catching.

  • recently, i found out the the ABOVE THE FOLD term originated from news papers. news paper publishers always put their MOST INTERESTING content on the part of the news paper which is ABOVE THE FOLD. :) very interesting! just sharing!:)

  • A fantastic read….very literate and informative. Many thanks….what theme is this you are using and also, where is your RSS button ?

  • I’m curious Yaro, what is your opinion on Flash on websites.. I know the SEO implications, but I was also thinking about an overly busy website, one that might distract the visitor from the content you need him to read?

  • Headings and lists make it easy for people to find information, and more importantly, these things allow people who use assistive technology to access information easily as people without disabilities would do.

  • great advice.
    Once at the seminar we analyzed a website where everything was absolutely wrong. Flashing useless header with no information, very confusing to understand what website offers, main information was below the fold. In other words – everything was the opposite of what you told.

    SAMusic Fan – flash websites are good for art and creative niches, where people love spending time staring at something beautiful.
    I’ve seen pretty cool flash sites, but it takes time to load, and not everyone is patient.
    Flash websites give an impression that company has money (at least has enough money to spend on a great website!). Just try not to overdo it…

  • Hi,
    I love a blog but it is to plan. I see you advertise for Unique Blogs. Is this your theme you have right now? I love the look of your blog and theme.

    Thanks for the great info

    Scott

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